Muscat: Jokha al Harthy has become the first writer in the Arabic language to win the Man Booker International Prize for her Celestial Bodies.
The book tells the story of three sisters and a desert country confronting its slave-owning past and a complex modern world.
The author plans to split the £50,000 ($S36,500) prize money with her translator, Marilyn Booth, a professor from the United States.
The prize, given to the best book translated into English and published in Britain, is seen as the world’s most significant award for translated fiction. It is different from the Booker Prize, for fiction originally published in English.
Jokha al Harthy has three novels, two stories and two children’s stories, and her novel Narangha (2016) won the Sultan Qaboos Prize for Culture, Arts and Letters 2016.
This achievement is the first of its kind for an Arab writer since the award was established in the year 2005.
Jokha al Harthy, 40, is also the first Omani novelist whose work has been translated into English.
She is also the first female novelist from the Arabian Gulf region to win this prestigious award.
“The book captures minds and hearts,” said Bettani Hughes, president of the jury.
“It deals with the forces that restrict us and those that liberate us. ”
The novel among the five books shortlisted for this prestigious award.